During the course, teams apply the concepts of design thinking, engineering, finance, and business and organizational skills to identify unmet customer needs, design new products or services that meet those needs, and develop business models to support the creation and launch of new products or services.
This course is appropriate for developing startups in the for-profit and nonprofit spaces. Even those teams that do not successfully launch a venture or that decide not to move forward will learn critical techniques about starting and launching a venture.
Over the two-quarter course, teams will interact extensively with the teaching team and a handful of seasoned advisors.
This is a demanding course that will push students but provides the resources to help them navigate the challenges of implementing an early-stage startup idea. By the end of the two quarters, teams will have the opportunity to:
- Get out of the building and interact with users, advisors, investors, and partners to develop a deep understanding of the challenges they face, to field-test their proposed services, products, and business models, and to gather data
- Interpret the data and make important startup decisions in the context of their own project: pivot, persevere, or perish
- Develop creative go-to-market strategies and test their effectiveness
- Develop and deliver in front of real investors an investor pitch, elevator pitch, and executive summary
- Negotiate term sheets with venture investors
- Develop a hiring plan for their first year of operation and consider equity and other compensation plans
This is a two-quarter course. Students must apply for and participate in the fall in order to take the winter course.